The villages in Greece are unique. Each has a distinct traditional character depending on its historical or geographical position, but all of the have a common quality: their undeniable natural beauty.
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In mainland Greece
In the Greek islands
Greece's legendary hospitality will certainly greet you like a long-lost family member when you arrive! The beautiful villages will be the perfect opportunity for you to experience the authentic Greek culture, mingle with the locals, practice some Greek words, and try delicious Greek foods. There is nothing more charming.
Monemvasia - credits: Nick K/Shutterstock.com
The photographs you have seen are representative of the Greek villages' appeal, making it impossible to decide what is the best location for a vacation to Greece. There's an unlimited list, and adding to it the elements of amazing Mediterranean food and friendly people, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
In mainland Greece
Papigko, Giannena - credits: Iordanis/Shutterstock.com
If you climb all the way to Papigo in Zagorochoria, you will be met with images of unique mountain beauty. The village itself seems to have been built following the dictates of the mountainous landscape. Its stone houses, cobblestones, and old churches are an effortless continuation of Zagoris nature.
Nature lovers can take a walk to the natural swimming pools hidden on the route between Mikros and Megalos Papigos or take a dip in the large ravine of Voidomatis after Aristi. You can also arrange a nearby excursion to Monodendri.
Agios Lavrentios, Pelion
Pelion - credits: Giannis Papanikos/Shutterstock.com
While every part of Pelion deserves a place in your heart and itinerary, the enchanting -yet less-known- village of Agios Lavredios is an ideal proposal for a quiet, zen vacation with a relaxed pace of life and delicious food.
Built amphitheatrically among plane and chestnut trees, at an altitude of 650 meters, and overlooking Pagasitikos, Agios Lavrentios is a postcard-worthy village. Stone-paved cobblestones pass through the rich nature, and the stone buildings adorn the village with elegance.
Drowned in the generous green of the mountain of the Centaurs, chestnuts, plane trees, and beeches, Agios Lavrentios has retained an old-time charm and its traditional identity.
Make a stop at Hatzini Square and enjoy the unobstructed view of the mountain and the opposite village, Drakeia. The magic of western Pelion will unfold before your eyes.
Paleos Panteleimonas, Pieria
Palaios Panteleimonas - credits: Georgios_Kritsotakis/Shutterstock.com
"Hanging" off the slopes of Mount Olympus, the beautiful Paleos Panteleimonas enchants its visitors at first sight. Stone houses with red-tiled roofs, stone-built cobblestones, the square with the centuries-old plane trees, and the restored church of Agios Panteleimon that dominates its center form a cinematic backdrop.
Its natural beauty, the hospitality of the inhabitants, the delicious food, the wonderful homemade sweets, the warm accommodation in the traditional guesthouses, and its short distance, both from the National Highway - just 6 kilometers - and from the beaches of Pieria, have put Paleos Panteleimon to the first place in the hearts of many visitors.
Paleos Panteleimonas was built at an altitude of 450 meters, probably at the end of the 14th century. Today Paleos Panteleimonas is a designated traditional settlement, as it is one of the best examples of traditional Macedonian architecture in northern Greece.
It attracts visitors throughout the year. Old mansions and houses have been restored and turned into wonderful welcoming guesthouses, which, in addition to modern comforts, offer a wonderful view of Thermaikos gulf, the castle of Platamonas and the coast of Pieria.
In the heart of the village, you are rewarded with the square with the centuries-old plane trees, the stone walls, the colorful pots, the impressive church of Agios Panteleimon, and the restored old school.
The whole picture is wrapped in the green package of the rich forest of chestnuts, and beech trees, which spreads around the village, enhancing its fairy-tale image even more. The dense forest is also ideal for hiking and paragliding.
Stemnitsa, Arkadia - credits: Eleni_Mavrandoni/Shutterstock.com
Another one of the most beautiful Greek villages of mountainous Arcadia, where you will walk between the imposing tower houses with arched lintels and the stone cobblestones that go uphill, passing under the arches of the houses, is Stemnitsa.
Stemnitsa is a popular base for accommodation in the area but also a classic stop for a walk in the alleys with wonderful houses and food or sweets in the village square.
The school of silversmithing, housed in an imposing stone building in the center of the village, continues the traditional craft – the people of Stemnicio were famous for their achievements in metallurgy, and the bells of some of the most famous churches of the Danubian countries are said to have been made by hand there. Hence the village's silversmith workshops, where you can buy handmade jewelry and replicas of rare coins.
Apart from the main road with its impressive tower houses, the Palamadeika district, the uphill path that leads to 'Mana tou Nero' (the source of the village's water supply), the slope of Pera Meria, full of almond and cypress trees, Aeraki, from where you can enjoy a wonderful sunset over the Ionian Sea and the mountains of Zakynthos, as well as the monastery of Zoodochos Pigis with the water mill of Tsagouros, are some suggestions for nearby walks.
Ambelakia, Larisa - credits: Georgios_Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com
Far from the urban centers and transport axes, in a supervisory position, five kilometers from the Sacred Narrows of Tempe, going uphill, one can see the historical community of Ampelakia as it has prevailed.
It is located at the foot of the mountain Kissavos and at a distance of 5 kilometers from Tempi, where the national road, Athens - Thessaloniki passes, and at a distance of 31 kilometers. from Larissa.
Mansions hanging on the mountain slopes testify with their architecture - initially - that the years that have passed have left their own indelible historical touch. Magic diffused through the village's narrow streets leaves the traveler speechless to admire the culture and architecture of a place that stood still in time.
Monemvasia - credits: Shutterstock.com
Monemvasia can be compared with a stone boat that overlooks the Aegean sea and transports its visitors to a past era. It is a living Medieval castle-state and the muse of Greek writer Yannis Ritsos.
Monemvasia is a village in the prefecture of Laconia, which is built on a rock and is literally a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge.
Imposing mansions, churches with impressive architecture, fountains, hammams, picturesque winding cobblestones, and the absence of cars give another dimension to the village.
In the Greek islands
Ano Syros, Syros
Ano Syros - credits: Lemonakis_Antoni/Shutterstock.com
The medieval settlement of Ano Syros is a charming place on the magnificent island, with fascinating history, spectacular views, cozy shops, endless steps, and a strong Cycladic character.
It is one of the few medieval settlements in Greece that is in such good condition and has been regularly inhabited for almost eight centuries. It is not accessible by car or motorbike, which has helped preserve its authenticity.
The charm of the architecture and the peace you feel walking through the labyrinthine small alleys will leave an impression on you. Ano Syros is full of cobbled streets -none more than two to two and a half meters wide-, steps, and houses that intertwine with each other with a characteristic economy of space.
Many rooftops are someone else's backyard. In addition to saving space, this layout also provided security from pirate raids. Medieval and Catholic elements are scattered and evident everywhere you look.
If you are lucky and the atmosphere is clear, from many balconies, streets, and clearings of Ano Syros, you can easily distinguish the neighboring islands of Tinos, Delos, Paros, and Naxos!
Pyrgi, Chios - credits: Constantinos Iliopoulos/Shutterstock.com
Among Chios's largest and most impressive villages, the village of Pyrgi looks like it has jumped straight out of a fairytale. Its beauty is evident, and its extraordinary character is enchanting. It comes as no surprise that it has been declared a preserved monument.
Narrow, stone streets, the church of the Holy Apostles, which dates from the 13th century, and several other churches, but mainly the geometric decoration of the exterior walls of the houses, make Pyrgi truly unique.
The houses, one close to the other, are connected to the opposite ones with impressive arches, while the outer wall of the more "remote" buildings is a medieval enclosure. The feeling that the village was built to protect its inhabitants is pervasive as the visitor walks through its picturesque streets. After all, this is "sealed" by the defensive tower in the center of the village, which functioned as a shelter in case of attack.
It is worth stopping at the church of the Holy Apostles, an excellently preserved Byzantine monument. As impressive as its exterior is, so are its interior spaces, with frescoes, the work of Antonio Domestichos of the island of Crete. They date from 1665, with a very strong folk element but also characteristics from the style of the Cretan School.
The houses' facades are the village's trademark, with the famous "scrapers" creating special geometric shapes and giving the painted village of Pyrgi its unique character. The impressive technique, where the carvings are done by hand, involves black sand being bleached and then scraped off. This is how the famous black patterns on a white background, simple or complex, are created and kept alive to this day.
Lefkas, Paros - credits: Alexander_Jung/Shutterstock.com
Paros' most beautiful and picturesque settlement does not face the Aegean sea, nor is it characterized by its sea breeze. It is located in the interior of the island. It is its most mountainous settlement and stands out for its picturesqueness and tranquility in the Cycladic background that distinguishes it.
Of course, we are talking about the beautiful village of Lefkes, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Greek villages on the island and in the entire Cyclades. Its name is due to the fact that the area was full of poplars, while its establishment is estimated around the 15th century. That is why it has been characterized as a traditional settlement, with the arrival of cars in it being prohibited.
Apart from the incomparable beauty of Cycladic architecture, what impresses its visitors is the tranquility and peace that one encounters, even if it is on one of the most popular Greek islands of the Cyclades.
Picturesque narrow alleys with whitewashed joints, pale white low houses with flowery courtyards, and several churches - most of them dating from the 17th century - are what you will see during your walks in the Greek village.
The route from the central square ends at the church of Agia Triada, the most characteristic of the village, in the square of which there is a traditional coffee shop - a trademark of the area for its refreshing homemade lemonade. Also of interest is the Folklore Museum of the village, which transports its visitors to the beginning of the 20th century.
Apeiranthos, Naxos - credits: Heracles_Kritikos/Shutterstock.com
Venetian towers, imposing old two-story whitewashed houses, marble cobblestone streets, and picturesque squares with traditional cafes create a special atmosphere rarely found in the Cyclades.
Apeiranthos is a mountainous village on the island of Naxos, built at the foot of Mount Fanari at an altitude of about 700 meters, and one of the most gorgeous mountain villages in all of Greece.
Untouched by time, the whole village looks like a fortress, waiting for you to conquer it by walking through the narrow labyrinthine streets, the stone houses, and the endless stairs of the mountainous region.
It is worth visiting the Archaeological Museum, the Geological Museum, the Natural History Museum, as well as the Folklore Museum, and definitely the church of Agia Kyriaki, which dates back to the period of the Iconoclasm and is one of the most important monuments, not only of Naxos but also of the Balkans. And then, choose the most picturesque square and have a Greek coffee while tasting traditional Naxos sweets.
Archanes, Crete - credits: KajzrPhotography shutterstock.com
At a distance of only 14 km from the city of Heraklion and 7 km from the famous Minoan palace of Knossos, you will find one of the most colorful villages of Crete, but also of Greece in general. Archanes is a surprising village for its visitors, with the multitude of experiences it offers.
Awarded several times, in fact, in 2019, the Greek village was included in CNN Travel's list of the 17 most beautiful Greek villages, while it has also been awarded in a competition of the European Union for its residential development, the village is built at an altitude of 380 meters.
It is a model traditional settlement and impresses the visitor with the colorful mosaic of elegant houses, museums with finds from the Minoan-Byzantine times and folklore art exhibits, buildings of excellent architecture, and Byzantine churches that one sees here.
In addition to the well-known and famous Cretan hospitality, nature lovers here can also enjoy the area's wild nature. The hike to the legendary Iuchta, the sacred mountain of the Archanas with an altitude of 811 meters, where according to legend, the father of Gods and men, Zeus, is buried, is a unique experience. In fact, many liken the image of the mountain to the figure of Jupiter sleeping.
If you are a fan of hiking, you can follow the European path E4, through the Syllamian gorge, under the shade of the centuries-old plane trees and oaks, and climb up to Fourni, the ancient necropolis with the wonderful forest all around it.
Fiskardo, Kefalonia - credits: Balate_Dorin/Shutterstock.com
Fiskardo is, according to many, the most cosmopolitan village on the Ionian island and definitely among the most beautiful. The Greek village of Fiskardo is the "star" of the island and is one of the few places left untouched by the 1953 earthquake, which allowed it to preserve its old-time charm intact.
It is the hometown of Greek poet Nikos Kavadias, it attracts like a magnet the visitors who arrive from every corner of the earth to admire its incomparable beauty as it resembles a "postcard" image.
After all, it has a variety of colors from the moment the visitor arrives at the specific place, either by boat in the picturesque port or by car, which he must leave in the parking lot since no vehicles are allowed.
In a short walk through the picturesque village, the pastel-colored mansions combine Heptanisian architecture with Venetian culture, the balconies decorated with bougainvillea plants, the small shops, and the dozens of pleasure boats that rock in the water attract all the photo clicks of visitors.
Points of reference in Fiskardo are the Lighthouse at Akrotiri, the ruins of the early Christian basilica of the 6th century at "Chtouria," and the afternoon bath at sunset with a view of Ithaca.
Dimitsana, Arcadia - credits: ollirg06/Depositphotos.com
The picturesque villages in Greece are something special. They are many, they have a distinctive style, and they are the perfect getaway if you want to experience Greece genuinely and originally. Do yourselves a favor and visit the regions of Greece that are a photographer's dream, even if they don't boast sandy beaches. Your expectations for the villages in Greece will come true!